The Farmcrowdy Group has launched Farmgate Africa, an agro-trading marketplace to improve farmers’ access to markets and processors, starting with Nigeria. The initiative would adopt agrictech and new technologies to bridge the gap between smallholder farmers, the market place and to increase quality food production.
Managing Director and co-founder of Farmgate Africa, Mr. Kenneth Obiajulu, said the agency would provide major processors and international buyers opportunity to purchase commodities directly from local farming clusters through technology: “As part of bridging the gap in the agriculture value-chain caused by market access, the Farmgate Africa platform would help build relationships with local farmers.
“It would also enable major processors to place orders through the platform without having to go through various layers of intermediaries. Farmgate Africa would optimise market access to African farmers and improve their income by at least 30 per cent. We are leaning on the wealth of experience and operational expertise provided by Farmcrowdy Group.
“Farmgate will, over the next two years, focus on deploying funds across various market points. This will focus on beef processing and developing aggregation capacities across maize, soybeans, sorghum and dried-split ginger for markets in Nigeria, UAE and UK.”
He identified major challenges facing farmers to include productivity, post-harvest losses and access to finance and marketing, saying that farmers were not given the financial inclusion they deserved.
Chief Executive of Farmcrowdy Group, Mr. Onyeka Akumah, said the launch of Farmgate Africa as a subsidiary was borne out of expectations placed on the group. He said that the firm would continue to provide innovations and build new solutions driven by technology to finance agriculture. He said farmers would not have to wait for the big processing companies to pay them for their goods because Farmgate Africa would have paid them within 48 hours:
“The initiative is another crowd-funding mechanism. Farmers would have been paid, using investors’ money while we wait for the required 30 to 60 days before the processors paid for the commodities. It is another opportunity for everyday Nigerian to fund the process of buying and selling what farmers have already harvested.”
On how to ensure quality of produce to meet international standards, Ms Tope Omotolani, co-founder, said the firm would mediate with multi-national companies and processors, who needed the commodity to get their desired quality:
“We will then train our in-house agronomists, who will now go to the farmers to teach farmers on the quality desired by processors. That way, the farmers will know what to produce per time, using new technologies and adopting good agricultural practices.”